Melbourne: The legendary Sunil Gavaskar took time off from his commentary commitments, on Wednesday, to speak to The Telegraph exclusively on Sourav Ganguly.
The following are excerpts
On whether hed slept well in the lead-up to becoming the first Indian — Asian, in fact — to make 100 Test appearances (Lahore, 1984-85)
(Laughs) I invariably had problems sleeping on the night before the first day of a series, so I didnt sleep well as my 100th Test was also the first of that series... I had a restless night, but not because I was approaching a milestone.
On the 100 Tests club
Look, Id never dreamt I would play that many Tests... One dreams of playing, of bringing honour to the country, but one doesnt dream of numbers... As only three had played that many Tests before me, I remember that morning did seem different... It was different from the usual butterflies in the stomach situation... Different from the touch of nervousness felt before every appearance for India...
On Souravs achievement given that, till just over a year ago, hed been out of the team
You can only admire his determination to play for the country again... If youve already played 80-odd Tests (Sourav had reached 88 when dropped after Karachi), then you may think that youve had your innings and... However, Sourav was determined and how well he did return... He looked as enthusiastic as a schoolboy... All credit to him for such an emphatic comeback (in South Africa, last December).
On his interaction with Sourav before the opening days play at the MCG
I welcomed him to the Club and presented a bottle of champagne on behalf of ESPN STAR Sports... But I also told him the bottle was to be opened after he gets a hundred or when India wins... Hopefully, hell have an enjoyable Test and not just personally...
On whether he remembers any one Test of Sourav
Two, actually... His debut at Lords (1996) where he got 131 and the Brisbane Test on the last tour, when he got 144... Sourav was thrust into an unfamiliar position (at No.3) on debut, but got a magnificent hundred with breathtaking shots... The debut is tough because, till then, youve only played at a certain level and theres a difference when it comes to Test cricket... Indeed, you dont know whether youve missed a trick while playing at the lower level... As for Brisbane, Souravs hundred there set the tone for the series and was his answer to those in the Australian media whod been talking of chin music and so on... A lot of unkind noises had been made and Sourav silenced everybody with a fabulous hundred.
On whether theres a Sourav quality which he admires
His quiet determination... His ability to hang in there...
On how would he describe Sourav
(Smiles) In four letters — Dada!
Finally, on Souravs future
If he shows the same kind of enthusiasm that hes shown in the past year, then its up to him... Eventually its not so much what the body tells you, but what the mind says... Till his mind says its enough, he should continue enjoying himself.